ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Several ministers participated in a preparatory meeting of the Turkish-Iraqi High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council on Tuesday at the Foreign Ministry.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that he would depart for Baghdad in August, where he would discuss in detail with the Iraqi authorities the action plan drafted following the meeting in Ankara.
Besides Davutoğlu, State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Çağlayan, Interior Minister Beşir Atalay, Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım, Public Works Minister Mustafa Demir, Health Minister Recep Akdağ and Environment Minister Veysel Eroğlu attended the preparatory meeting.
The Ankara talks come just before another comprehensive meeting scheduled to be held in Iraq in October when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to be present.
Speaking following the meeting, Davutoğlu characterized the Cooperation Council as a new model in the region. He said such a model would allow Turkey to establish the highest level of political relations with Iraq and that in an economic sense that would raise the level of cooperation between Ankara and Baghdad to integration.
“[The council] is a work that will totally bind the two countries, which have lived side by side, brotherly and in good neighborly relations throughout history,” said Davutoğlu.
The High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council was set up with an agreement signed in Baghdad during Erdoğan’s visit last year. The two neighboring countries’ prime ministers will attend the October meeting. Erdoğan met with his Iraqi counterpart, Nouri al-Maliki, who attended the signing ceremony of the European Union’s flagship Nabucco project in Ankara, and discussed the action plan for the council meeting.